Abra town mayor, father implicated in 3 killings
Artemio Dumlao (The Philippine Star) - July 20, 2013 - 12:00am

BANGUED, Abra – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Cordillera filed multiple murder charges yesterday against the mayor of La Paz town and his father, the vice mayor of Danglas town, after a self-confessed hit man alleged that he killed two of his townmates upon orders of the two officials.

Jacobo Badua, 55, a close-in security aide and alleged hit man of Danglas Vice Mayor Andres Bernos, 78, turned himself in to Chief Superintendent Benjamin Magalong, Cordillera police director, who in turn endorsed the investigation to the NBI-Cordillera.

Badua was a former vice mayor of La Paz town. He ran in the recent polls but lost to Menchie Bernos, wife of La Paz Mayor Joseph Sto. Niño Bernos, 32.

The young Bernos, however, belied Badua’s allegations which he said were motivated by political vendetta.

“All of these are fabricated accusations,” he said, citing Badua’s loss to his wife in the recent elections.

The young Bernos, who chairs the Municipal Mayors’ League of Abra, also wondered why some people still believe Badua, who he said “is facing a murder charge.”

Efforts to get the side of the elder Bernos have remained futile.

NBI-Cordillera special investigator III Abner Dotimas said they would ask the Abra prosecutor’s office to inhibit itself from the case, expressing doubts on the impartiality of fiscals there.

In his sworn-in confession, Badua said he killed Joel Afos in July 2002 and William Sagun in April 2006, and saw former barangay chairman Ruben Afos slain by another hit man in July 2004 allegedly on orders of Mayor Bernos and his father.

Badua said he decided to surface, as he feared for his and his family’s safety.

Badua said he killed Afos allegedly on orders of the elder Bernos who supposedly wanted to give him a lesson after robbing the family’s pawnshop.

He alleged that the elder Bernos gave him the .45-caliber pistol he used in the killing and he returned it after the hit job.

Badua also owned up to the killing of Sagun who he said he shot five times in front of his house in the La Paz town proper, also allegedly with the same pistol from the elder Bernos.

He said Sagun had accused the Bernoses for the mysterious disappearance of his cousin, Lomen Dupo, a school teacher. Until now, Dupo’s body was nowhere to be found, he added.

Badua further alleged that he personally witnessed how a certain Boy Droga, allegedly on orders of the Bernos father and son, killed Afos, a former barangay chairman in the capital town of Bangued.

Afos, who chaired the barangay chairmen’s association, ran against the young Bernos in the 2004 vice mayoral race in La Paz.

Badua though was included as co-accused of the Bernoses, although the NBI-Cordillera would ask the Department of Justice to make him a state witness in the killings.

Badua and his family were brought out of Abra days before his confession for security considerations. 


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